Technology is Failing to Meet the Needs of Older People with Hearing and Sight Problems, Report Finds
Assistive technology developers and service providers need to do more to meet the diverse needs of the rising number of older people with both hearing and sight problems, according to a new report launched at the University of Sheffield today (10 March 2016). The study - Keeping in Touch with Technology? - was commissioned in 2014 by Sense, the national charity for deafblind people, to explore the experiences of older people using telecare and assistive technology. Growing numbers of people with sight and hearing problems are living in the community and seven in ten of those are aged over 70. By 2030, the UK is likely to have 570,000 people with hearing and sight problems, including 418,000 people over 70 and 245,000 people with severe impairments.
From http://medicalxpress.com/news/2016-03-technology-older-people-sight-problems.html, March 14, 2016
From Walking Canes to Wrist Alarms: WHO’s Global Survey on Assistive Technologies
WHO has launched a global survey to gather views on the most necessary and useful assistive technologies such as hearing aids and wheel chairs. The survey will feed into the first ever WHO mandated list of essential assistive technologies to provide a tool for governments. Governments can use the list to plan and focus efforts to help populations acquire the 50 priority products, thereby improving the everyday lives of the elderly and people with disabilities.
From http://www.who.int/features/2016/assistive-technologies/en/, March 14, 2016
USA: Makeathon Develops Assistive Technology, Prosthetics
The Brown science, technology, engineering, arts and math community hosted an assistive technology makeathon over the weekend, bringing together an eclectic mix of students, volunteers and mentors to find solutions aiding those with disabilities. Held in the Brown Design Workshop, the students worked to re-invent traditional technologies. The event attracted a much more diverse group than simply Brown students. Along with a variety of RISD students and one visitor from Harvard, multiple engineering professors visited the event, gave commentary and participated as mentors. Unlike traditional hackathons and competitions, the makeathon aimed for a more intimate feel to foster collaboration through its size.
From http://www.browndailyherald.com/2016/03/07/makeathon-develops-assistive-technology-prosthetics/, March 14, 2016
USA: Adaptive Tech Connects Paralyzed Woman to the World
The equipment was made in collaboration with United Cerebral Palsy of Central Minnesota, an organization that hopes to increase accessibility for all people with disabilities, said Jenna Berger, president and CEO. Assistive technology is any item that can increase access or functionality for people with disabilities. It can be as simple as a propping up a tablet on a lap pillow to highly specialized equipment and computer systems.
From http://www.sctimes.com/story/news/local/rocori/2016/03/05/adaptive-tech-connects-paralyzed-woman-world/80472778/, March 14, 2016
Shortlist Announced for Accessible Books Consortium’s 2016 International Excellence Award
The 2016 ABC International Excellence Award for Accessible Publishing shortlist has been announced. Nominees were judged on the criteria of outstanding leadership or achievements in improving the accessibility of commercial e-books or other digital publications for persons who are blind, visually impaired or otherwise print disabled.
From http://www.accessiblebooksconsortium.org/news/en/2016/news_0001.html, March 11, 2016
Web Content Accessibility for Users with Varying Abilities
Great web design is not only dynamic and lovely, it’s also highly functional. Functionality covers a very broad topic – but in a general sense, it means that website design and development enable all online users to access the information on the website (including images, videos, text, etc.). All users includes individuals with disabilities, such as those who are colorblind, have low vision, are blind, have hearing impairments, are dyslexic, are prone to seizures, have motor or mobility impairments, etc.
From http://www.business2community.com/strategy/web-content-accessibility-users-varying-abilities-01464061#SvVBovVbXogaJ0DG.99, March 11, 2016
Accessibility in Office 365—Progress in 2015 and Plans for 2016
Last week, Jenny Lay-Flurrie, chief accessibility officer for Microsoft, outlined our company-wide guiding principles and goals to improve accessibility across our products, services and websites. To support this company priority, the Office 365 team has increased its investments in accessibility to a historical high and is committed to delivering inclusive productivity experiences to empower the 1 billion+ people with disabilities on this planet to achieve more.
From https://blogs.office.com/2016/02/22/accessibility-in-office-365-progress-in-2015-and-plans-for-2016/, March 11, 2016
BBC Researches Caption User Experience
Three researchers from the BBC have created a framework for understanding – and potentially improving – the UX (user experience) of people who use captions. In the Development of a Framework for Understanding the UX of Subtitles (link is external) (note that ‘subtitle’ is the UK term for ‘caption’), Michael Crabb, Rhiane Jones and Mike Armstrong write that improving subtitling “requires a shift in defining what is meant by the quality of subtitles; from the quality of subtitle displays as defined principally by standard efficiency measures - to the quality of the overall viewing experience”.
From http://mediaaccess.org.au/latest_news/news/bbc-researches-caption-user-experience, March 11, 2016
Want Grandma to Know Siri from a Selfie? This Teen Can Help
Tara Bahrampour, a staff writer based in Washington, D.C., writes about aging and generations. On Wednesday, Howard, 71, sat in a classroom where Christian, 16, was the teacher. His class: an introduction to smartphones for residents of Westminster at Lake Ridge, a retirement community in Prince William County, Va. Christian began volunteering at the facility a year ago, helping at Tuesday night sessions where people could come with tech questions.
From https://www.washingtonpost.com/local/social-issues/want-grandma-to-know-siri-from-a-selfie-this-teen-can-help/2016/03/04/8f8b0f5a-e176-11e5-8d98-4b3d9215ade1_story.html, March 10, 2016
Interview: Deafblind Attorney Fights for Online Accessibility
Haben Girma, a disability advocate and the first deafblind graduate of Harvard Law School, spoke with us via iMessage from her Berkeley, CA, office to discuss her work to change the accessibility culture of Silicon Valley, her meeting with President Obama during the 25th anniversary commemoration of the Americans with Disabilities Act and society’s evolving attitude toward people with disabilities.
From http://www.rudermanfoundation.org/blog/article/interview-deafblind-attorney-fights-for-online-accessibility, March 10, 2016